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About ASHRAE Level 1 and ASHRAE Level 2 Commercial Energy Audits
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) offers three levels of energy audits that test the energy efficiency of a building. The Level 3 energy audit is comprehensive and extensive and generally takes many months to complete. Most businesses’ needs are met through conducting either a Level 1 or Level 2 audit. Following are the basics about ASHRAE Level 1 and ASHRAE Level 2 commercial energy audits to help you determine which one is best for your company.
ASHRAE Level 1 energy audit
The ASHRAE level 1 commercial energy audit is the most common of the energy audits. It provides a simple walk-through analysis of a facility and largely focuses on low-cost or no-cost energy saving options that can be implemented by the organization right away. This level of energy audit also includes a high-level energy use analysis for the entire facility and a detailed report on the findings. It is a basic starting point for most businesses and building owners.
What happens during a Level 1 audit?
When a business has an ASHRAE Level 1 energy audit, the facility manager or other principal members can expect the auditor to perform some basic tasks. This can include reviewing the utility bills, reviewing operating data and conducting a preliminary walk-through of the building. These actions are taken in an effort to identify areas where energy improvements can be made, understand the building’s configuration, and identify the nature of the energy systems.
Determinations of the Level 1 audit
Once the level 1 energy audit is complete, the auditor will determine a baseline for measuring improvements, decide if additional evaluation is needed, and identify opportunities for energy efficiency. However, the audit does not provide detailed recommendations for energy improvements.
ASHRAE Level 2 Energy Audit
The ASHRAE Level 2 commercial energy audit goes a bit deeper than the Level 1 audit does. This energy audit identifies actions a business should take to conserve more energy. The auditor will also provide a financial analysis that includes retrofitting costs, operating costs, and future savings due to suggested upgrades. The analysis also provides information regarding any operations changes that need to be made. This type of energy audit is adequate for most buildings.
What happens during a Level 2 energy audit?
The Level 2 energy audit extends from where the Level 1 audit ends. It takes the information that is gleaned from the Level 1 audit and evaluates it to determine the improvements that need to be made to make a building more energy-efficient. Specific areas the Level 2 audit evaluates include the building envelope lighting, heating and ventilation as well as hot water, plug loads, compressed air and process uses (where applicable).
The process of a Level 2 energy audit
A company that engages in a Level 2 energy audit can expect a detailed analysis of energy consumption, an evaluation of lighting, air quality and temperature, as well as an evaluation of humidity and any other conditions that may affect energy performance and occupant comfort. The auditor will also have a sit-down meeting with the business owner, plant manager, and anyone who works in the building to discuss issues that present a potential problem and clarify the goals of the organization.
Diagnostic tests performed during a Level 2 energy audit
An ASHRAE Level 2 energy audit will also include several diagnostic tests that help to complete the overall picture of the energy efficiency of a facility. Some of the diagnostic tests that might be included in a Level 2 energy audit include a combustion analysis and steady state efficiency testing, blower door testing and duct leakage testing as well as air flow measurements, water flow and temperature measurements. Other diagnostic tests may include tracer gas analysis, infrared thermology, solar shading analysis and electrical testing
Results of a Level 2 audit
Once a Level 2 energy audit is completed, the results should lay out several energy-saving changes the company can implement. Many of the changes are low-cost or no-cost. However, some of the suggestions might require a financial output commitment from the company. In those cases, the audit will include the costs associated with making the change as well as an estimate of the savings potential of them. The final report of the audit should also include the steps the company needs to take to accomplish the changes that are spelled out in the audit analysis.
Having an ASHRAE Level 1 or Level 2 commercial energy audit is a wise idea for any business or organization. If you have additional questions regarding ASHRAE energy audits or are ready to schedule one, contact a local professional that offers both levels of ASHRAE energy audits.
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